Tropical hardwood imports down sharply in June
Imports of sawn tropical hardwood fell 22% by volume in
June. The 7,763 cubic metres imported in June was
significantly lower than the volume seen in the last few
months and was down to a level comparable to that of last
Imports from the top supplying nations were all down by
an even larger percent: Cameroon down 48%, Congo
(Brazzaville) down 35%, Malaysia down 34%, and
Ecuador down 23%. Imports of aapelli and acajou
d¡¯Afrique were about half of the previous month¡¯s volume
while imports of keruing dropped by 38% and Balsa was
Imports of ipe and jatoba, which are no longer included in
these reported totals, both rose again in June. Ipe imports
gained 3% in June while jatoba imports grew by 24%.
Overall sawn tropical hardwood imports (not including ipe
and Jatoba) are down 37% year to date. However, if we
include those two woods, imports are actually up 16%
over 2020 so far this year.
Canadian imports of sawn tropical hardwood fell for the
second straight month in June. Imports were off 12% as
imports from Cameroon, Indonesia, and Congo
(Brazzaville) all fell by more than 30%.
Hardwood plywood imports retreat
After a record volume in May, imports of hardwood
plywood fell back 8% in June. Despite the retreat, at
282,048 cubic metres the volume was more than 53%
higher than June 2020. The fall in volume did not lead to a
corresponding dollar loss as the amount spent rose
marginally to more than US$195 million as unit values
Imports from Indonesia, Cambodia, and Vietnam all fell
by about 10% in June but are ahead significantly year to
date from each of these countries. Overall imports of
hardwood plywood are up 25% year to date through the
first half of 2021.
Veneer imports show third straight month of strong
Imports of tropical hardwood veneer continued their
strong recovery in June gaining 49% in volume from the
previous month to post its best total since August 2019.
Imports from China and Ghana both rebounded from a
dismal May while Imports from Italy grew by 44%.
Imports from India fell back 43% from a very strong May,
but still managed to outpace June 2020 imports by 75%.
The strong month pulled year to date imports ahead of
2020 for the first time this year as they are now up by 2%
through the first half of 2021.
Hardwood flooring imports strongest in more than two
Imports of hardwood flooring had another strong month
gaining 10% by volume in June for their best month since
May 2019. The gain was almost entirely due to a more
than doubling of imports from China in June. Despite the
gain, imports from China are still down 16% year to date.
The big month from China was tempered by drops in
imports from Malaysia (down 47%) and Indonesia (down
43%). Overall imports of hardwood flooring are ahead
41% year to date over 2020.
Imports of assembled flooring panels rose by 5% in June
on strong increases in imports from Canada (up 31%),
Indonesia (up 54%) and Thailand (up 46%). Imports from
Brazil and China were both down sharply. Imports appear
to be much stronger this year than last, but information is
incomplete currently as the U.S. government is updating
its reporting in this category. (See related story below)
USDA changes assembled flooring panels reports to
coordinate with Commerce Department
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) added two
additional categories of Assembled Flooring Panels to its
GATS imports data beginning with the data for May 2021.
The reports have added imports for Harmonised System
(HS) codes 4418790100 and 4418739000 to their reports,
increasing import total figures going back years. The two
codes represent categories that register imports ¡°not
elsewhere specified or indicated¡± (NESOI).
UDSA official Jason Carver wrote us that ¡°a number of
HS code changes implemented in 2019 (and one in 2018)
were not showing up in the GATS database but were
present in the U.S. Census trade database. Carver says the
GATS database is now up to date.
Moulding imports advance for fourth straight month
Imports of hardwood moulding were up 6% by volume in
June on strong gains from China. Imports from China rose
62%, continuing their recovery from a very weak spring.
Due to the poor first quarter, imports from China are down
60% year to date through the first half of the year.
Concersely, imports from Canada and Malaysia both fell
3% in June but are well ahead year to date, 47% and 60%
respectively. Overall imports of hardwood moulding are
up 17% year to date.
Wooden furniture imports down 2%
Imports of wooden furniture fell by 2% from May¡¯s record
but, at over US$2.2 billion in June, they are still higher
than every other month of the past 10 years and are nearly
twice that of June 2020. Imports from Mexico grew by
8%, while imports from most other countries all fell by
less than 10%, except for imports from India, which slid
20%. Overall imports are up 64% year to date through the
first half of the year.
Meanwhile, new orders for residential furniture are
continuing to see big growth, rising 47% in May 2021
over May 2020. This marks 12 straight months of yearover-
year increases, as reported by Smith Leonard in the
latest issue of Furniture Insights. Year to date, the results
remained very strong with orders up 67% over the first
five months of 2020. Orders were up for 97% for the
survey¡¯s participants year to date.
Since 2020 was not a normal year, Smith Leonard
compared the 2021 year to date results with that of their
2019 survey. This comparison showed new orders up 36%
over the first five months of 2019. These results show that
business has continued to be positive since the beginning
of the comeback from the shutdown of the economy in the
March/April 2020 time frame.
Furniture maker MCS sues two shipping companies,
American home furniture manufacturer and supplier MCS
Industries has filed a US$600,000 lawsuit against Cosco
Shipping Lines and MSC Mediterranean Shipping
Company, alleging the two shippers had violated the U.S.
Shipping Act and exploited customers.
MCS says that since the beginning of the COVID-19
pandemic, shippers have colluded to manipulate the
market. MCS said the collusion was made possible
because there are now just three alliances that dominate 90
percent of the East-West trade lanes. MSC, the world's
second-largest shipper, said it was 'shocked' by the suit
and rejected claims of collusion.
MCS says a container shipped from China to the U.S.
West Coast in 2019 would have cost US$2,700. Now that
same voyage would cost more thanUS US$15,000.
Congress recently moved to give the Federal Maritime
Commission more power to investigate shipping lines.